‘Involvement, awareness of families important asset in battling diabetes’

Families have an important role in creating awareness of the risks of diabetes, including overweight and obesity.

Preventing and controlling noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) is one of the eight flagship priorities for the South East Asian region, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, the WHO regional director for South-East Asia said, on the eve of World Diabetes Day. Pointing out that an estimated 91 million people suffered from diabetes in the region, the director said diabetes poses a significant threat to public health.

Around 49 million people with diabetes are unaware they have it, and undiagnosed or poorly controlled type 1 or type 2 diabetes can lead to heart, kidney, nerve or eye damage. It can also lead to premature death, which, in South East Asia, accounts for just under 50 per cent of all deaths caused by NCDs, as per a WHO statement.

The statement said that as part of the WHO’s approach to tackling diabetes, families must be empowered to act. Families have an important role in creating awareness of the risks of diabetes, including overweight and obesity. They can also instil healthy habits such as physical activities that help prevent diabetes, including its early onset, which is high in the region. In addition, family members are often the first to identify diabetes’ signs, symptoms, risks and complications. When complemented by access to quality primary healthcare, families are an important asset in the battle against diabetes, Dr Singh said.

There is a need for more research on the treatment of kidneys, which are affected by diabetes, said Dr Suresh Patankar, president of Ace Multi Speciality Hospital in Erandwane. He added that most patients who have to undergo dialysis are diabetics. “Even if diabetics are able to maintain blood sugar levels, still in some cases we see the progression of complications especially affecting the kidneys. With early onset of type 2 diabetes, now as early as childhood, the challenge that diabetes poses is huge,” said Patankar.

Dr Unnikrishnan A G, the CEO and Chief of Endocrinology at Chellaram Diabetes Institute, stressed that there is a need to discourage the re-use of insulin needles, looking at the bigger benefits of optimising insulin administration for better glycemic control. Injection technique is crucial in achieving optimal control of diabetes in patients who are on insulin therapy. For optimal insulin absorption, insulin needs to be injected into the fat layer under the skin to avoid the muscle. It is also important to use a new site each time for every injection. It is also recommended not to inject into the same site repeatedly and it is recommended to change the needle with every use/injection, he said.

To mark the occasion of World Diabetes Day, Aditya Birla Memorial Hospital, Maharashtra’s first Joint Commission International (JCI), USA and NABH accredited hospital, has organised a free blood sugar check-up camp at Aditya Birla Atrium from November 14 to 16. Rekha Dubey, CEO of Aditya Birla Hospital, said, “Diabetes, if left untreated, can lead to several short-term and long-term illnesses. The camp will be conducted from 10 am onwards along with a team of experienced doctors.

Drawing contest planned to raise awareness on child obesity

The state government, in collaboration with private organisations, will hold a drawing competition, ‘Fight Childhood Obesity - Drawing Competition 2019’, in schools across Maharashtra on the occasion of Children’s Day, November 14.

By 2025, India will have over 15 million children with obesity and may stand in second place among 184 countries. The drawing competition will continue till November 30 and will present an excellent opportunity to students to express their thoughts on healthy habits and the dangers of obesity, said Dr Jayasshree Todkkar, Director, Maharashtra State Obesity and Non-Communicable Disease (NCD)Task Force.

Obesity raises the risk of suffering from non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular, kidney-related, respiratory diseases as well as diabetes. Healthy habits such as exercise and a well-balanced diet can play a role in preventing or controlling these diseases, said Todkkar, adding obesity has become a threat owing to poor awareness among the masses.

The Rotary Club of Koregaon Park, Pune (RCKP), along with its partners the Directorate of Health Services, Maharashtra, Navneet Foundation and JT Foundation, has launched the drawing competition as part of the second phase of the campaign against obesity.

Dr Sadhana Tayade, Director-Health Services, state family welfare bureau, said, “Diabetes has become an epidemic in India. Every fourth person in India is diabetic. Among the key risk factors, one factor responsible for causing diabetes is obesity. Obesity is the result of unhealthy food habits, physical inactivity and inclination towards tobacco and alcohol use..."